During November 2019 two groups in our community ran foul of local laws regarding accommodation and Council put an urgent motion to help only one of them. Council chose to speak up for pets instead of people.
In mid-November nine men at the Mona Castle hotel in Seddon were issued with a 72 hour eviction notice because the pub’s fire safety wasn’t up to regulation.
Meanwhile a few blocks away in Footscray, the owner of Bar Josephine was told he could no longer allow patrons to bring their pooches because he was in breach of food safety laws.
Each issue triggered many comments on our regular ratepayers’ forum.
And at the Council meeting on the 19th the Mayor vacated her role briefly so she could move an urgent motion.
The motion was that Council write to the State Government to review the food safety laws to allow dogs in bars.
Not a word about the nine men facing homelessness.
How did this happen? Well, firstly, there’s some background to Bar Josephine that demonstrates the usual Council silo stupidity.
Council had promoted Bar Josephine through its Facebook page saying how fantastic it was that patrons could drink with their dogs. This alerted another service area of Council to a breach of health laws, so it slapped a fine on the Bar. So all up, Council looks pretty stupid. But hey, when you have 845 staff how are they all supposed to keep track of what’s happening?
So, back to the Council meeting. Someone complained about the fine and the ban on dogs. So the Mayor, Sarah Carter rang the Proprietor and visited Bar Josephine and reviewed the relevant laws herself.
She decided it was important enough to move an urgent motion to Council, that Council write to the state Health Minister and ask for the laws to be reviewed.
The Mayor should be congratulated for taking the initiative to talk to the Proprietor and visit the Bar and review the relevant legislation.
But the entire Council should be ashamed of its priorities.